Collaborators driven to compete, and the Realtors® who want to love them

My 16-year-old is learning to drive, but not from me. That’s because I — at least according to my nauseatingly law-abiding wife — am something of a highway menace.

And I can live with that (the not-teaching-to-drive part, not the menace part) because frankly, I’m also the nervous type, at least where 16-year-olds steering heavy, expensive, rolling assets are involved, and no amount of auto insurance is enough to relieve me of those particular jitters.

image It’s not that the 16-year-old in question, my daughter Claire, is proving to be a bad driver. To the contrary, in fact. But when it comes to driving proficiency, I adhere to George Carlin’s (unfailingly subjective) code, to which only the most intrepid of drivers measure up.

It goes something — and rather circuitously — like this:

1. I’m the role model for other drivers.

2. Those who drive more slowly than I do are (to put it kindly) simple-minded nitwits. Those who drive faster: Maniacs.

3. Those who daily commit a range of petty vehicular etiquette faux pas, from failing to signal a turn, to misunderstanding the concept of a four-way stop, to being overly permissive in giving pedestrians the right-of-way (I find they seem to move faster when you rev the gas), to doing any little thing that impedes my progress toward my destination: Idiots, all of them.

4. On the other hand, I am the apotheosis of behind-the-wheel temperance, efficiency, and safety. I am gridlock’s solution, not its cause.

5. Ergo … I’m the role model for other drivers.

I wonder sometimes if that same sort of circular, if-you’re-not-me you’re- a-moron mindset doesn’t at times characterize the relations between the sister tiers of the Realtor® organization — the local, state and national associations.

Each level works so hard to deliver value to you and wants so badly to be valued by you that it’s easy sometimes for us to view your affections (as it were) as a zero sum game. If you really treasure your local association, that diminishes your appreciation for VAR or NAR, right? And vice-versa? “You should like us,” each level seems to say, “We’re better than those other bozos up or down the chain.”

It’s sort of third-grade when you think about it. And yet your local, state, and national associations can risk duplicating services or bickering or just generally competing for what we misperceive as your limited, when what we should be doing is collaborating, delivering services to you that fit each level’s strategic role and geographic footprint — and realizing at the end of the day, we sink or swim together.

In truth, you thrive as a member based in part on the collective, collaborative efforts of all three sisters, not just one or the other.

Claire’s mother has handled the bulk of her driver’s education thus far, and as Claire improves, my comfort level in riding along with her grows. “You and Mom are in lock-step on that,” she sighs when I offer her a bit of unwelcomed navigational criticism. Which is fine. We role models need to stick together.

VAR CEO Scott Brunner calls himself an assertive driver… whatever that means. Reach him at

This entry was posted in The Buzz. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *